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Surviving in the Age of Anti-Reality & the Rights of Internet Truthers

In some ways I’m an easy going guy in my middle age. The angry youth evolved into a very well educated version of the earlier self that I bet not a single soul from my distant past would recognise. I have a couple of University degrees, industry IT qualifications, and I’m reasonably well (and broadly) read. But I miss ignorance; if only because traversing through this modern information landscape is a loathsome chore. Better to be ignorant and ‘one of them’, than knowledgable.

To understand me you only really need to know the things that are core to my nature. Science. Language. Reason.

Being wrong is better than believing you are right. Being right is better than being wrong, of course. Not knowing the difference between where right and wrong are (the black box) makes me cringe inside, begging answers. And, if I say something that happens to be wrong, show me. It’s a due courtesy that facts should pass between human beings, rather than misinformation.

Misinformation is a pollution of our species. Why ever did we educate the masses only to reach this apex of ignorance and superstition?

Which begs the question: In this age of information highways and cloud based academia, how do so many people not get the facts correct? Or even know how to test the difference between truth and fiction?

For example, when it comes to any question of science at this point in time the very first step should be to visit Google Scholar. Peer reviewed academic papers available at your fingertips. There is simply no excuse. Rather, the thought bandwagons of popular media and Youtube personality weighs supreme in the mind of great swathes of society. Real science and research are often vilified. People no longer seem to understand what science is or how it works towards increasing understanding; the Scientific Method. So they consult the orb of the Internet. Populist pundits. Pseudo-scientists. Truthers and medicine men, all.

In my lifetime I have seen the world move from a respect for science to a position of anti-science. Anti-vaxers, 5G conspiracists, the science denialism of people in the face of global warming. Here are some facts… there is no evidence that wind farms will give you cancer, or mobile phones, or microwaves (the last 2 being non-ionising radiation). Fluoride is a benefit to society. Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much. The truth is out there.

The entire landscape of misinformation can just seriously get on a rocket into the sun and leave the rest of us here in the land of common sense. There are 2nd Amendment defenders in the United States protesting to be allowed to ignore a pandemic, for fuck sake. It makes me wonder where peak ignorance will be reached. Thermonuclear cultism? The President of the United States appears to be running a Jim Jones cult. But he “has all the best words”, he says. Oh, my fucking overeducated brain hurts.

It’s fine to think I’m full of shit. But you have to understand where I’m coming from with this aversion to self-indulgent psuedo-intelligent populist bullshit that blankets our society. You, all of us, are sitting on this incredible rock spinning around a minor sun in the backwoods of forever. We fly around in metal tubes defying gravity; we communicate globally at little to no expense; at least one fifth of us are living the life that none of our ancestors have ever experienced, or few imagined. What an incredible time to be thinking.

But we’re not thinking. We’re watching crap and repeating crap and allowing crap to come out of other people simply because everyone has a right to promote the crap they’re thinking. Even when we have the simple free tools to correct these errors. People choose Infowars over investigative journalism. The World slowly moves away from democracy because we’ve bloodied it’s name with the untruths and injustices so badly there isn’t remaining faith in real truth and freedom. Parroting misinformation and flippant conspiracies is not freedom. It’s just stupid.

As a society, as a generalisation of who we are as a people, we no longer understand what science is about or where it should be taking us. As a society we’ve become the educated ignorant. The undeserving. The abundance of food and resources has fogged our brains. I’ve argued with professors at the University over their global warming denialism, for example. In business school. How does that even happen?

Therefore, I raise a metaphorical glass to the Internet infrastructure upon which the World Wide Web promised to make us all smarter and better human beings. My survival pack is a basement of beer and no desire to be an old man in a rocking chair to witness the debacle of human potential devolve into idiocy. The idiots, my friends, are actually winning. Have won. Are at the helm. Reaming our arses with “alternate facts”. I raise a glass to that… our intellectual Titanic.

Graduation Day from the MBA program in 2010

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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